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37th World Diamond Congress - POSITIVE HEADWINDS
Business leaders, industry think-tank meeting and discussing industry related issues is not new but when these leaders speak on common grounds and emerge as one voice, it definitely is a welcome change. Issues of transparency, beneficiation, responsibility, sustainability and finance have been the troubles and concerns of the industry and the same were the prime subjects of discussions at the recently concluded 37th World Diamond Congress in Dubai. Diamond World brings you how the discussions unfolded in this Cover Story.
By: Diamond World News Service
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Jun 22 2016 2:50PM
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Reference: 13144  

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The World Federation of Diamond Bourses’ (WFDB) presidents and bourse members discussed various issues of concern relating to the diamond industry at the recently concluded 37th World Diamond Congress (WDC). The WDC was attended by the representatives of all leading organisations of the diamond industry, including the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), delegates of major mining companies and countries, as well as by the World Diamond Mark.

Participants Praise 37th WDC For Providing Platform for Wide-Ranging Debates
There was no shortage of important topics on the agenda at the 37th WDC held from May 16 to 19 in Dubai. The biennial meeting of the WFDB and the IDMA looked at everything from bank financing to undisclosed synthetics in parcels of natural mined diamonds, and from price lists to over-grading of stones. In brief, there was a wide range of issues for the two organisations to discuss.

The Congress started with a change to the schedule. The two bodies usually hold their individual, internal meetings on the Sunday of the week of the Congress; however, this was moved forward to Monday to accommodate the travel plans of the Jewish presidents to enable them to travel after the Sabbath.

The WFDB held meetings of its major committees: the Judicial, Trade and Business, Promotion, and the Executive Committees. The Trade and Business Committee were, in fact, meeting for the first time and was chaired by Honorary WFDB President Shmuel Schnitzer. It discussed the issues of profitability, synthetics, banking and finance. Meanwhile, the Promotion Committee heard about the WFDB’s new Communications Strategy and its work in promoting the WFDB via Social Media as well as receiving a report on the work of the World Diamond Mark which aims to promote diamonds generically for the good of the whole diamond trade.

Meanwhile, IDMA elected a new President and Executive Board. Ronnie VanderLinden is the new President, replacing Maxim Shkadov, while Philippe Roolant is Vice President. Kim Lanny is the new Secretary General and Stephane Fischler is Treasurer. IDMA President VanderLinden described the IDMA meetings as “challenging, energetic and sometimes very forceful.”

Outgoing IDMA President Maxim Shkadov was unable to attend due to developments in the Russian diamond market that required his attention. In his speech, which was read out on his behalf by VanderLinden, he again repeated his concerns about the health of the industry.

“The pulse of the manufacturers remains weak. Why? Because we’re undernourished and anemic and while we’re working our fingers to the bone, after a day’s work, we are not making enough to keep our strength up. True enough, the diamond manufacturing business is not dead yet, but we’re very unhealthy,” Shkadov wrote.

Meetings ‘Critical’ in Allowing In-Depth Debate
Meanwhile, WFDB President Ernie Blom said his organisation’s meetings were “critical” in dealing with the many issues that arise between the WFDB’s regular gatherings as well as new topics. “The first day meetings allowed us to hold in-depth talks, and it is always important that we hear perspectives which come from different areas of the diamond world and which are informed by the deep experience of our delegates. The meetings were extremely well attended and there was a great deal of interest from industry stakeholders, as well as our bourse presidents, with many questions raised.”

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